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Hooking a USB drive to a wifi router for Time Machine backups...doable, right?


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Hooking a USB drive to a wifi router for Time Machine backups...doable, right?
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psmith2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2021-11-05, 12:14

Is it as simple as connecting a USB hard drive to the USB port on the (non-Apple) router (AT&T in Mom's case, NETGEAR in mine), it showing up as a connected drive and then assigning Time Capsule to use it to back up, wirelessly, to it?

I imagine there's more to it than that, but is the whole thing even possible (even if I have to figure out the specifics via Googling or help here)?

Notebooks physically connected to USB drives isn't ideal, and the wireless, never-have-to-think-about-it automatic backing up via Time Machine is really nice. If Apple isn't going to sell those Tim Capsule things anymore, I can "roll my own", right, with a USB drive and modern wifi router?
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chucker
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: near Bremen, Germany
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2021-11-05, 12:43

Yes, but you want to check with the particular router if they specifically support Time Machine.
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psmith2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2021-11-05, 12:55

Ah, rats...

Okay, thanks.
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chucker
 
Join Date: May 2004
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2021-11-05, 12:57

Netgear has a guide: https://kb.netgear.com/21360/How-to-...NETGEAR-router (I think that guide makes it look a lot more complicated than it actually is)

What's the AT&T router?
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psmith2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2021-11-05, 13:04

Ha...I was just reading that very page, not one minute ago!

The AT&T router is my Mom's. I'll be over Sunday for lunch and I'll see what it is/write down any helpful info and then Google it all when I'm back home.

I'd love to get us both back on wireless, automatic/behind-the-scenes backup again.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2021-11-05, 13:45

So it looks like hooking up a HDD to AT&T routers isn't a problem. Whether it works for Time Machine or not remains to be seen. If you get me the model number of your mom's and it matches mine I'll test it for you.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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psmith2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2021-11-05, 13:58

Okay. It'll be Sunday, though. Thanks!
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drewprops
Space Pirate
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2021-11-05, 17:17

SUBSCRIBE (for reasons)


...
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2021-11-06, 13:31

I've been looking more and more into this for my mom's network. Right now she is on a VLAN in my network but uses her old Time Capsule for backups. This works for now but what happens when it fails?

So it looks like AT&T disables the USB ports on their routers. This means the only option for a "wireless Time Machine Backup" is via a NAS of some sort. So you would by a network drive and plug it into an ethernet port on the router. Thankfully this isn't too challenging but also not the cheapest option.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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psmith2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2021-11-06, 13:43

Now why do they do that? Goobers. Everything worked just fine, years ago, with Comcast (a single cable modem that paired nicely with her Time Capsule).

She switched to AT&T Uverse DSL, etc. and they brought in all this gear...about 2-3 different boxes, their own wireless kit, etc. and it's just been an indecipherable c.f. ever since.

Bummer.

Well, I'm still gonna try it on my Netgear router soon.

Apple, you clowns...you offered, for years, the perfect solution for "the rest of us" when it comes to both wireless and backing up. Grrr...

The one ray of hope in this is that seem to be reverting to things that "used to work", so maybe - maybe - they'll see fit to resurrect AirPort/Time Capsule. Who ever thought MagSafe, colors, etc. were coming back, this time a year ago?
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2021-11-06, 13:46

Yeah, still get me the model number of her router and I'll verify it. There are two different models AT&T uses and I didn't check the other one, just the one I have.

Plus, we can look at other options for you that will likely help others searching the forum that don't involve another router and the convoluted setup that creates for "the rest of us".

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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psmith2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2021-11-06, 13:47

Okay, thanks.
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PB PM
Sneaky Punk
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Vancouver, BC
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2021-11-06, 14:38

I suspect the USB ports are disable to prevent side loading malicious of software by techs, or customers. The security of service provider modem/wifi units is questionable at best, I always use a third party router. Not that they are perfect either, but at least I can force software updates. Sometimes the modems won’t get updates pushed to them by the ISP for months or years.
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chucker
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: near Bremen, Germany
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2021-11-06, 15:22

It could also be a licensing issue — those routers are often relabeled "real" routers from vendors like Netgear, and a licensing condition could be "you get to sell this at $50 less, but you have to disable some functionality".

But yes, vastly simplifying tech support is also a factor.
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psmith2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2021-11-08, 20:15

I'm such a blockhead. I was at Mom's for over three hours yesterday...and between lunch, talking/catching up, resetting a few of her high-up wall clocks, watching GSN, helping clean up, etc. I totally forgot to look at her AT&T router/gear and get any model info.

Next time I'm over there - it should be in the coming 1-3 days - I'll be sure to look.

Sorry.

The whole time I was there, someone was nagging at me and I kept thinking "I'm supposed to do something here today", but I could not remember what it was. If I my head wasn't attached to my body, I'd leave it at the grocery store.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2021-11-09, 13:58

Wait, geeky stuff wasn't the first thing on your mind when visiting with your mom?




No worries, I'll be around to help when ever works for you.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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psmith2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2021-11-10, 11:17

Hey, I may be swinging by Mom's this afternoon to drop something off for her.

She has several AT&T boxes/devices. One is low and flat and I know is a TV-oriented thing (DVR, etc.), so I know I'm not needing info on that.

The other two things both stand up vertically. One is quite big and bulky (like a large James Michener hardback ) and I think that's the "brains" because it has lights for phone, TV, wifi, etc. The other thing is much smaller (about 6" tall) and says "WPS" on the front. I think that might be the actual wireless router part of it all?

Which of those two should I be getting info (model numbers, port arrangement, etc.) on? The smaller one?
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2021-11-10, 11:20

The one with WPS on the front. There is a label plate on the side with WiFi passwords and such. That is where to get the model number.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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psmith2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2021-11-10, 11:21

Awesome. I'll snag that info in a bit.

EDIT: Okay, just got back. A couple of things:

- The model number of the smaller unit is VAP2500. However, there's no USB port on the back. It's pretty stripped down/simple...a power port and, if I remember, an ethernet port maybe? Only two ports, both occupied. No free USB port. No USB port, period.

- I looked to that larger vertical box. Its model number shows as 5268AC (with "FXN" written directly below the "8AC", because maybe there was no further room to have it all in a straight, single line: 5268AC FXN)

However, from a bit of Googling, I saw where an online AT&T support rep told another customer (who'd asked what the USB port is for) that the USB port is strictly for AT&T use/maintenance. Their reply, copy/pasted:

Quote:
As far as the USB Port is concerned, it is only used for maintenance. If AT&T had to manually update or reload the software on the modem, this is the port they would use. Other than this, it has no other purpose.
So it appears I'm out of the water on both...the smaller wireless router has no USB port, and the larger one does but it seems to serve no purpose to anyone other than an AT&T tech doing updates/installs.

Oh well, thanks for being willing to check it out!

Once every month or so, I just stick a 64GB USB thumb drive into her MacBook Air and backup her Photos library and documents. Those are really the only two things that change/get added to. It was certainly nicer when Time Capsule just handled it all, automatically!

I'm thinking we'll just get a USB hard drive (one of those portable ones that gets its power from the MacBook via the USB cable, so no having to plug it in anywhere) and she can just plug that in and let Time Machine do its thing. Not the most elegant approach for a notebook, but it'll be better than me trying to remember to do it manually every month or so.

Last edited by psmith2.0 : 2021-11-10 at 12:35.
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